Fela’s Republic and the Kalakuta Queens’ Returns

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Bolanle Austen-Peters speaking at Felas Republic the Kalakuta Queens press conference

Rebecca Ejifoma

The Bolanle-Austen-Peters Productions (BAP) is bringing back to stage the musical, Fela’s Republic and the Kalakuta Queens during this Yuletide in a 10-day marathon show in Lagos. The play, which had won the hearts of many theatre enthusiasts in Lagos, Abuja, Cairo and South Africa in the past two years, is based on the true life story of women who are behind the music of the legendary Afrobeat musician and Pan-African, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the life in his commune known as Kalakuta Republic.

The electrifying musical, which started yesterday, runs untill Sunday January 5, 2020. It is scheduled to hold at 3pm and 7pm daily at the Terra Arena in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The new version of the musical is a slight twist to the original production, giving life to the memories of these women who became his wives. They had remained committed to Fela and his protest music even in the face of military action, arrests and human rights’ violation.

The director, Bolanle Austen-Peters said that the play is the celebration of Fela’s unapologetic and prophetic messages enshrined in his music into the original storyline and the roles the wives played.

On why the play was returned to stage, Austen-Peters insisted that there is a huge demand for it. “The sequel is just as exciting and the major twist to it is that the new play is a fusion of the Kalakuta Queens and Fela’s social messages,” she emphasised.

With remarks that there wouldn’t have successfully been a Fela music without the women, Austen-Peters said it was apt to have the women’s undiluted story documented through the play.

Some of the lingering issues that Fela’s music captured include socio-political, imperialism, neo-colonialism and corruption.

As for the lead actor and jazz musician, Laitan Adedeji otherwise known as, “Heavywind”, his role is to tell the ills in the society – a feature the music legend was best known for.

“This play is to entertain and to remind ourselves of the prophesies of the legend, who attacked corporate robbers in his time,” he said.

Austen-Peters and her team assured the public that the play promises to be more thrilling, electrifying and captivating.

The musical is supported by Ecobank, Amstel Malta, MTN, Dormanlong, the Estate of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Africa Magic, Red Media Africa, and Beat FM, among others.